KUALA LUMPUR (March 24, 2011): The police must not be beholden to political parties. This terse advice comes from respected former Special Branch deputy director Datuk Seri Yuen Yuet Leng (pix).
“We are not beholden to political parties, but must support the incumbent political party so long as they act within the boundaries of the Federal Constitution,” Yuen said, adding that the
police can technically refuse to act if they do not agree with what the political administration of the time wants.
“We can even arrest the prime minister, but this takes someone with a lot of guts to do it,” Yuen told theSun after the launch of a mini-series depicting his real-life story Suatu Ketika … Darah Di Bumi (Once upon a time … Blood on the soil).
The programme is
scheduled to be aired over Astro Citra at 1pm Saturday and Sunday, and on April 2 and 3, in conjunction with Police Day tomorrow.
In addition, a documentary depicting the struggles and dedication of Yuen, who joined the police force to defend the country even before he obtained his citizenship, is scheduled to air on Astro Prima at 5pm on
Yuen, who was also former Perak chief police officer and former Sarawak commissioner of police, said he joined the force despite not having a citizenship as he wanted to contribute towards the security and formation of a nation.
“I was willing to die for a new nation to be born,” he said adding that his mother had always said that he was different from her other children because for him duty and country was above life.
“Some Chinese may not agree with what I did, in fact my platoon was made up of mostly Malays, one Indian, and I was the only Chinese,” he said.
Asked about politicians who undermine the roles of non-Malays such as him who fought for the country, the 84-ye
ar-old Yuen said: “Ask them to come and speak to me directly. It just shows that they do not understand history.”
On the roles of the Special Branch then and its challenges today, Yuen said the branch has always been a dominant part of the police force and is there to maintain order.
“People say that Ops Lalang was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s doing but this is not true as the measures taken were t
o stamp out a brewing unrest,” Yuen said, adding that the department acts in the national interest.
Yuen said the image of the police force dropped to one of its lowest points a few years ago, but felt that the public perception about it has improved.
“Those in the higher ranks are changing, they are more professional, and this needs to trickle down to the l
ower ranking officers too,” he added.
“I honestly feel that the chief police officers in the states are doing their best, we must give credit to them,” he said.
Yuen said that his advice to police officers today is “to be firm with politicians”.
This also applies to the judiciary and the civil servants, he said, adding that the political executives are not more powerful than the police and the judiciary.
“Wrong is wrong, there are no two ways about it, and politicians must know that they cannot push the police too far,” he added.